Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Subject Matter Teaching: Physical Sciences


Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math Education


College of Education


Meagher, Richard


Chemistry--Study and teaching


Science and Mathematics Education


The purpose of this project was to determine if student achievement could be approved by curriculum changes within a cooperative learning framework and the use of portfolio assessment. Students in two classes were involved in the study. Both classes received the same instruction, worksheet and quizzes. In addition, one class worked individually to complete the worksheets to prepare for weekly quizzes. The other class used the cooperative learning technique - Student Teams Achievement Divisions. The cooperative learning students worked in groups of four to complete the worksheets to prepare for the weekly quizzes. The goal was to have everyone in the group learn the material to have the highest team average score on the quiz and to gain improvement points. Improvement points were awarded each week and a record of the results posted for each team.

A statistical analysis of the second marking test scores of the classes showed a significant difference in their level of achievement. It was established that the noncooperative learning class demonstrated a higher academic level of achievement. Students were given a pretest and a posttest before and after the unit to measure cognitive gains. The results of the analysis of the pretest and posttest results represent a reduction in the gap between the two classes. Further time is needed to determine the impact of keeping a portfolio on the achievement of the less motivated chemistry student.